Israel Adesanya Makes Case For Middleweight Title Shot

Sergio Cunningham
February 11, 2019

Luckless Australian UFC champion Robert Whittaker is shattered after being forced to abandon his middleweight title defence due to a "freak" abdominal injury which could have proved fatal in a bout.

The 29-year-old middleweight led the rise of Kiwis in the UFC over the past year, with City Kickboxing teammates Kai Kara-France, the UFC's No.15 ranked flyweight, and Shane Young also picking up wins at UFC 234.

The most unsafe moment for Adesanya came in the third round, when Silva launched into a flying knee attempt.

Originally billed as the co-main event, the Adesanya-Silva showdown was elevated to main event status, and it didn't disappoint.

There are a total of five fights on the main card.

The three judges scored the fight 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 and it was deemed the Fight of the Night, with both men earning a US$50,000 bonus.

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"This is like, if I'm playing basketball, to play against Michael Jordan". Sometimes it's not in your control.

The UFC boss said Whittaker is expected to be out four to six weeks, though that is not necessarily an exact timetable. I don't care. Kelvin or Rob, whoever it is I don't care.

'What they told me was that his colon and intestines had popped out, ' White said in the post-show press conference. "They think he's had it for a while and it's been popping in and out", White said of Whittaker.

Sunday's scheduled clash with American Kelvin Gastelumn at a sold-out Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne was called off in the early hours after Whittaker experienced issues on Saturday evening and subsequently underwent surgery.

Meanwhile, Silva embraced the crowd following his hard fought loss and stated once again that he's not going anywhere except back to the gym to prepare for his next fight. White confirmed that Adesanya vs. Silva was supposed to be a No. 1 contender fight at 185 pounds. This is my life.

Silva's performance in his first fight in two years was enough to impress even former two-division champion Conor McGregor, who took to Twitter to rave about Silva and intimate he'd be interested in fighting him. "I'm going to go back to training, go back to see my family and maybe I fight in Curitiba".

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